10 essential phrases for your trip to Croatia

Speaking Croatian like a local

If your planning a trip to Croatia, one of Europe’s hottest rivieras, you will be in for a treat! This island paradise on the Adriatic Sea is an idyllic summer getaway with gorgeous coastline, ancient cities, and friendly locals.

To make the most of your trip to Croatia, you’ll want to speak a bit of Croatian. All of the former-Yugoslavian countries share the same Serbo-Croatian language, so once you learn these 10 phrases they will also come in handy as you travel from Croatia to Montenegro and Serbia. Of course some words and dialects differ between the countries, but the general gist is the same.

  1. “Hvala” The best way to make a good impression in another country is to say your pleases and thank yous correctly in the native language. To say “thank you” in Croatian, you say hvala. If you wish to say “thank you very much,” it’s hvala puno.
  2. “Molim” The word “please” in Croatian is molim. For example, if you would like to order a beer you would say pivo molim or “beer, please.”
  3. “Ja Sam” To introduce yourself in Croatian, you’ll say ja sam. If I were to introduce myself, I’d say, ja sam Courtney. The “j” in Croatian is pronounced like a “y.”
  4. “Drago Mi Je” Croatians will be quite impressed when you use a few conversational phrases, and this one is great to have in your back pocket. Drago mi je means “nice to meet you” and is customary to say to new friends and acquaintances after they introduce themselves.
  5. “Ziveli” Upon entering any home in Croatia, you will undoubtedly be served a shot of homemade brandy called rakija. It’s the national drink of all former-Yugoslavian countries including Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Cheers-ing your new Croatian friends with a resounding ziveli (pronounced ji-vo-li) will happen often throughout your stay!
  6. “Račun, Molim” You’ll want to take full advantage of the wide variety of restaurants throughout Croatia, from seaside cafes to rustic kafanas. After indulging in delicious Balkan delicacies, you can ask for the check by simply saying, racun (pronounced ra-choon).
  7. “Dobar Jutar / Dobar Dan / Dobro Veče” – You’ll have many great days and nights on your Croatian vacation. To say “good morning/afternoon/night” you should learn the word for good, dobar. To say “good morning,” it’s dobar jutar, for “good afternoon” it’s dobar dan, and to say “good evening” it’s dobro veče! 

    Viewfinder Tip: Be careful to switch dobar to dobro when you are saying “good evening”

  8. Kafu Molim Like their Italian neighbors across the Adriatic sea, Croatians drink lots of coffee all throughout the day and there is a booming cafe culture across country. To order your coffee like a pro just ask for kafu, molim, which means “coffee, please!”
  9. Koliko Košta Want to know how much something costs? Just ask, koliko košta? You’ll be quoted a price in Croatian kuna, the national currency.
  10. “Gde Je” If you’re lost in Croatia and you need to ask for directions, the phrase “where is” will get you there!

What is your favorite Croatian phrase? 

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Courtney Scott

Courtney Scott is a New York-based travel blogger, TV personality, and leading on-air travel expert.She has appeared more than 200 times in national broadcast, radio, and print outlets including TODAY show, MSNBC, Fox & Friends, CNN, Wall Street Journal, and Peter Greenberg Worldwide. Her travel career began in 2007 when she kicked her cubicle and booked a one-way ticket to Italy.She now inspires others to live their travel dreams through her blog and her weekly YouTube travel series GLOBETROT with Courtney Scott. She is a regular panelist at Women's Travel Fest and is also the co-creator of The Getaway Girls, a travel show uncovering the best girlfriend getaways in the world, co-starring Kiersten Rich, a.k.a. The Blonde Abroad. Subscribe to Courtney's adventures on YouTube and keep up with her travels on Instagram and Snapchat (imcourtscott).

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